Weaving Home Exhibit

This past weekend, I attended a weaving demonstration sponsored by the Houston Arts Alliance. Weaving Home: Textile Traditions from Houston’s Karenni Community showcases the weaving process and textiles created by women refugees from Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). For the Karenni, weaving is both a tradition from their homeland and a means of providing financial support for their families.

I had not fully appreciated that Houston is home to several refugee communities from across the globe. These men, women, and children flee their countries as a result of armed conflicts and other conditions difficult to imagine. A local organization, The Community Cloth, supports these refugee communities. Through seed grants, The Community Cloth empowers refugee women to create and sell their handmade crafts.

The live demonstration featured a Karenni weaver using a back strap loom. With her permission, I captured some shots of her at her craft. I found the movement of her hands to be almost poetic.

Click on any photo for a large-screen view.

The rest of the exhibition featured displays of beautiful woven textiles. Items included traditional clothing and bags, and more modern items such as table runners and scarves.

The craftsmanship was evident in the patterns and lively colors. I was able to touch the textiles and appreciate the delicacy of the fine threads. The materials varied but were mostly made of cotton and some synthetic blends.

The purchase of this incredibly soft woven scarf was my little contribution to the Karenni microenterprise.

The Houston Arts Alliance website has a section devoted to the Weaving Home exhibit which I highly encourage you to read. You can learn more about and sponsor a seed grant for women artisans at The Community Cloth.

27 thoughts on “Weaving Home Exhibit

  1. Breathtakingly beautiful! What an incredible craft … amazing how such a primitive looking loom can create such beauty. Thanks for sharing

    1. I’m so glad that the Houston Arts Alliance and The Community Cloth do what they do. I would hate for them to lose their craft in the bustle of the city. So glad you liked the post.

    1. It was interesting to watch. I would have a hard time sitting with the loom strapped around me. But that does make the weaver a part of the tool and the process. Glad you stopped by.

    1. Gracias. Igüalmente al blog tuyo. Nunca he intentado el bordado pero siempre me llama la atención el detalle y los dibujos. Gracias por visitar.

  2. I’m often impressed by what people can do when they come from a culture where crafts like weaving are a part of everyday life. You get pretty good at something when it’s necessary.

  3. Thank you so much for this post, I love exhibitions like these but rarely get to visit anything like this one, here in out of the way Wales. These textiles are amazing!

    1. So glad you got to see the weaving at least thru pictures. And I don’t know what you’re talking about because I see really cool yarns and knitting from Wales! It’s on my list of places to visit one day!

    1. I’m glad you liked them. I was amazed with watching the movement of the weaver’s hands. In actuality, she used her whole body with the loom strapped around her back.

  4. This is a bit like the inkle loom we constructed in our occupational therapy course (long ago). These fabrics are a long way from the little straps, ribbons and belts we made! Exquisite – thanks for sharing all these lovely photos.

  5. What beautiful weaving! Sometime when you visit Sydney, NS, there’s a textile school and museum you won’t want to miss! Thanks for bringing this art to each of us.

      1. This is our third in our guild in 8 years. We always hope it will be the last one… People enjoy the process of creating it, and the recipient is invariably in tears receiving the “hugs” from so many guild members at once. It’s a joy to be able to coordinate such a talented group of independent-minded women to accomplish such a project in only 2 months!

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